Tag Archives: holy-books

On some customs and traditions of Hinduism

When Truths realized by enlightened sages and prophets are relayed down the ages without proper understanding, they tend to get frozen into customs observed by the masses out of habit or due to fear of God.  Such archaic customs tend to accumulate until they are shattered by the next enlightened sage who appears on the scene.   In this context,  these are some striking observations of Mother Mirra Alfassa on some encrustations of Hinduism.

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Hermeneutics: how to read holy scriptures

The interpretation of centuries-old holy scriptures is always a challenge.  Rote learning of scriptures which was undertaken in past centuries due to lack of durable recording material is no longer required; it may improve memory but doesn’t lead us much further.  On the other hand, the academic pursuit of hermeneutics through critical thinking produces dry interpretations (as well as misinterpretations) because it is undertaken by those who without spiritual background.   What then is the method by which one unlocks the true meaning of a holy book?  It is necessarily a maieutic process, to use a Socratic term, that grows through spiritual practice and experience.  When we begin to awaken to the influence of the soul within, it gradually discloses to us the secret of the scripture.   The blossoming intuition which brings us closer to the Divine can also unlock the original intent of the  scripture.   In this post, we collect some observations by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother Mirra Alfassa on how to read and interpret holy scriptures.

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Difference between religion and spirituality

We live in times where spirituality is the new buzzword and religion is derided as outdated, but it is not clear what the differences between the two are.  The religious approach can be summed up as a combination of nostalgia for the past, desire for structure  in life, respect for authority and an inability to entertain ambiguity.  The spiritual path is propelled by the desire to rediscover the Truth for oneself by using some psychological and occult practices.  The rest of this article delineates these differences in detail.

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States of self-realization defined in the Gita

This post is a collection of some interesting terms from the Bhagavad Gita that denote various states of self-realization, along with explanatory text from the works of Sri Aurobindo.  The terms covered in this post are Vyavasaya-yukta Buddhi, Atmarati, Brahmi-sthithi, Nimitta-Matra, Brahma-Nirvana, Samahita, Samyatendriyah, Samsiddhi, Samam Brahma, Udasinavat, Krsna-vit, Brahma-bhuya and Madbhava.

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Links between Vedas, Upanishads, Tantra and Puranas

Sri Aurobindo and his disciples uncovered connections between the Vedas and the later scriptures such as Upanishads, Puranas and the Tantra by tracing the evolution of concepts, use of common verses and the underlying symbolism between these scriptures.  This is a synopsis of their discoveries collated from a variety of sources.

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Why read Sri Aurobindo’s books?

Enlightened Masters such as Sri Aurobindo who have reached a high level of consciousness are able to state Truths with great clarity by virtue of the illumination they have attained. Every statement becomes a revelation and every paragraph an epiphany. Those who aspire for spiritual progress have to desist from reading books which lower the consciousness precisely because words have power. This is a collection of passages by the Mother of the Aurobindo Ashram, Mirra Alfassa, on the effect of reading ordinary books versus reading Sri Aurobindo’s books. At the end of this post, I have appended an Amazon review by someone who initially found it difficult to read Sri Aurobindo.

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How to read holy books

Sri Krishna Prem was born Ronald Henry Nixon in Britain in 1898. After service in the Royal Flying Corps, he took his M.A. at Cambridge and in 1920 went to India to pursue his interest in Buddhism and theosophy. There he met his guru, Sri Yashoda Mai, a Bengali mentor of profound mystical experience. He followed her to a remote ashram in the Himalayan foothills, took holy orders as a monk of the Hindu Vaishnava sect, and was given the name Sri Krishna Prem. After his guru’s death, he was left in charge of the ashram and reluctantly accepted the task of leading the other disciples. Teaching from his own religious insight and retaining only such ritual as he felt to be of universal significance, he became one of the outstanding figures in India’s spiritual life. He died in 1965. Continue reading